IWBC Awards 

    2nd International Women’s Brass Conference: St. Louis, Missouri May 1997

    IWBC Pioneer Awardees

    Clora Bryant gave an excellent account (in the book Central Avenue Sounds by by Clora Bryant, William Green, Buddy Collette) as one female working in the male dominated music arena.

    She praised her father for encouraging her musical career, who sacrificed by relocating his family to Los Angeles for that purpose. Especially memorable was her frequenting the jam sessions at the Downbeat.

    Cherokee was the musicians’ favorite, and when Bryant performed it, colleagues were impressed, one of them being Dizzy Gillespie. Gillespie, too, was a mentor to Bryant, even allowing her to use his horn.

    Despite the fierce competition, she wanted equal treatment from her colleagues, without losing her femininity. On stage she made it clear her sexuality, as she said, ‘People thought you were playing trumpet because you had male tendencies, which I didn’t have.’ She would let the audience know as she puts it, ‘never forget I was a female . . . I always dressed as a female.’

    Because she had big legs she’d wear mesh stockings with a seam up the back to look sexy. Sometimes the problems were with jealous wives and girlfriends of the male musicians and she had to prove she was there to play music.”

    Since the publishing of her biography here, Clora Bryant passed away on August 23, 2019.

    Credits: www.allaboutjazz.com


      Jane Sager: Born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Ms. Sager started playing violin at the age of six. By the time she was ten, she was appearing on a radio show playing Mendelssohn, and as a reward, her father bought her a bicycle.

      She was hit by a car and the back wheel ran over her left hand and ended her violin career. In high school, Ms. Sager went down to the Moose (Lodge) Hall and picked up a Tonk horn, took it home and practiced until she literally ‘fell over.’

      One of the most outspoken and active women in jazz, Ms. Sager played major trumpet roles in the all-women bands of Rita Rio and Ada Leonard.

      She has also held Bobby Hackett’s chair in Katherine Dunham’s band, and played with the bands of Charlie Barnet and Johnny Richards.

      Since the publishing of her biography here, Jane Sager passed away in 2012.


        Born and raised in Winter Haven, Florida, Constance Weldon started playing drums in the fourth grade. She then picked up the trumpet, later playing horn, valve trombone, baritone horn all on the way to her final destination, the tuba! From that day on, Connie’s life was never the same as it constantly revolved around playing the tuba. As valedictorian of Miami Jackson High School, she was offered scholarships to all of Florida’s universities. She decided to accept an academic scholarship to the University of Miami.

        While studying with Bower Murphy, the trumpet playing teacher of all brass at the University of Miami, Connie auditioned for and was accepted to the Tanglewood Music Festival in the summer of 1951. There she played under the baton of a young Leonard Bernstein as well as other promising and established professional conductors. At summer’s end, she turned down a position in the Rio de Janeiro Symphony to finish her education.

        Connie completed a Bachelor of Music degree in 1952 and a Master of Education in 1953 from the University of Miami. Returning to Tanglewood in 1954, she auditioned for Arthur Fiedler and joined the Boston Pops Touring Orchestra. Connie next joined the North Carolina Symphony. In 1957 she was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship Award to study in Amsterdam with the Concertgebouw tubist, Adrian Boorsma. During that time she joined the Netherlands Ballet Orkest and was acting principal tuba of the great Concertgebouw Orchestra.

        Upon returning to the U.S., Connie joined the Kansas City Philharmonic for two seasons, after which she returned to Florida to join the Miami Philharmonic and teach at the University of Miami. Connie quickly established a reputation as an expert teacher, known for her prescriptive and thorough approach. In Connie’s studio, musicianship and technical teaching received equal time. As a result of her successful studio building, Connie formed the University of Miami Tuba Ensemble in 1960, the first credited group of its type at any university. In this ensemble, Connie taught a higher awareness of intonation, balance, rhythm, accompaniment skills, and solo playing with musical opinion. Her success with the University of Miami Tuba Ensemble led to interest from other universities and a proliferation of this type of ensemble throughout the tuba world. Connie’s success as a teacher also led to her becoming the conductor of the University of Miami Brass Choir, one of that school’s flagship ensembles.

        From 1972 until her retirement in 1991, Connie was the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies at the University of Miami. In this position she provided guidance to thousands of future musicians and teachers. Since then, she has been honored with the University of Miami Distinguished Alumna Award, the University of Miami Distinguished Woman of the Year, the World Who’s Who of Women in Education, and the Pioneer Award of the International Women’s Brass Conference.


        About IWBC Awards


        At each conference, beginning with the first in 1993, the IWBC has recognized women who have been pioneers in the top levels of brass performance, breaking down barriers and living their lives effecting change for those who have followed. Each awardee’s career and spirit exemplify the goals and traditions of the IWBC.


        The Beacon Award was first introduced at the 2014 conference, and given to women who have been beacons of light for those around them, both in the fields of performance and education.  These women influence so many generations of musicians through their careers sharing the art of performance, and standing for the values of equity, perseverance, and excellence.


        At the 2014 conference a special group of women who made an important impact on the lives of many were honored. These women answered the call of our nation, and beginning in World War II served our country as musicians.  When it became clear that the war was going to involve the service of all available men, the United States government enlisted women to take over many jobs on the home front.  Playing music was one of those jobs.  Bands were formed in the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps.  Shortly after the war, the Air Force also formed a band of women.  While most of these women served only for the duration of the war years, some bands remained active.  The women’s band programs concluded in the 1970s. The Circle of Excellence Award is given to all women from all services who served as musicians during and after World War II.  The IWBC salutes their service. The biographies of three women who served, and attended the 2014 conference are included here.


        The Lifetime Achievement Award was first introduced at the 2014 IWBC conference, and is given to honor those who have achieved a high level of success in the field of music, through a career dedicated to the highest level of performance, education and outreach. The life work of these women has touched so many generations of audiences, students, and fellow musicians through their careers sharing the art of music. Our Lifetime Achievement Awardees are outstanding examples of dedication, professionalism and integrity.


        The IWBC President’s Award honors those who have been steadfast supporters of our activities and mission on this our twenty-fifth anniversary. We salute these award winners for showcasing true professionalism, and living their lives with a dedication to equality and service. 


        The Susan Slaughter Award for Leadership is being presented for the first time at our 2017 conference, to a true legend in the field of music. Marin Alsop has been a champion of equality, and her career sets the highest example of professionalism and outreach. This award is given by IWBC Founder Susan Slaughter in grateful appreciation for a career spent making a difference for women in music through a lifetime of service.


        The Penny Turner Young Artist Award launched in the spring of 2018. The award is a scholarship competition created by IWBC Board Member Ginger Turner in honor of her late mother, Penny Turner. The competition is open to all female brass players between the ages of 12-18; their music teachers or private instructors may nominate competitors.  


        If you’d like to nominate someone for recognition, please submit your nomination to Joanna Hersey at [email protected]